Calgary

Calgary Muslims gather in thousands to mark Eid al-Adha

Tens of thousands of Muslims in every quadrant of Calgary marked the start of Eid al-Adha on Sunday.

Eid al-Adha is one of Islam’s biggest holidays

Thousands of Calgary Muslims from many different backgrounds and countries gather at the Akram Jomaa Islamic Centre to mark the start of Eid al-Fitr in 2019. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

Tens of thousands of Muslims in every quadrant of Calgary marked the start of Eid al-Adha on Sunday.

Eid al-Adha is the second of two Islamic holidays celebrated annually. The other, Eid al-Fitr, comes at the end of the holy month of Ramadan where Muslims fast.

This Eid marks the end of the Hajj, a pilgrimage to Mecca, which is one of the pillars of Islam and a requirement for Muslims to make at least once in their life, for those that are physically able. 

Muslims in prayer, marking the beginning of one of the most important events of the year. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

It's known as the festival of the sacrifice and commemorates the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son. In the end, a lamb is sacrificed instead of the boy. Many families have an animal slaughtered and share the meat in thirds with friends, family and the poor.

Thousands braved the rain to gather in huge outdoor tents at the Akram Joma Islamic Centre on Sunday morning for prayers, joined by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.

Imam Fayaz Tilly with the Muslim Council of Calgary says this Eid commemorates the prophet Ibrahim. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

"We learn from this particular day that in order for us to unite, in order for us to make our world a better place we have a responsibility," said Imam Fayaz Tilly with the Muslim Council of Calgary.

"Part of that responsibility is educating ourselves, sacrificing our time and our wealth to ensure we leave this world in a better place," said Tilly.

Premier Kenney spoke to the crowd about religious freedom and tolerance in Alberta, making reference to Alberta being home to several Muslim firsts.

A father and son take in Eid al-Adha prayers at one of many events in Calgary. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

"It is in this province that the first Muslim was elected to a Canadian legislature and appointed to a Canadian cabinet," said Kenney.

"It is in this province that the first Muslim was elected to the parliament of Canada, it is in this province that the first Mosque in Canada was constructed and so it is in this province that we will continue to be leaders in the defence of religious freedom, demonstrating that Islam and Muslim people have a central place in our society," Kenney said.

The event was one of many organized by the Muslim Council of Calgary in all corners of the city.

Eid al-Adha is one the most important events in the Muslim calendar. Thousands pack into giant outdoor tents at this gathering at the Akram Joma Islamic Centre in Calgary. In many places it involves slaughtering an animal, usually a sheep or goat, and sharing the meat with others. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

"We have this event all across the city and all across the world," said Mohammad Hajar, chair of the MCC. 

"We have it in the southeast, northeast, southwest and the northwest, the same type of gathering and same ceremony. We put in lots of effort," said Hajar.

As well as prayers, Eid al-Adha involves the sharing of food and gifts among family and friends.

Eid runs for the next three days.

About the Author

Dan McGarvey

Journalist

Dan McGarvey is a mobile journalist focused on filing stories remotely for CBC Calgary’s web, radio, TV and social media platforms, only using an iPhone and mobile tech. You can email story ideas and tips to Dan at: dan.mcgarvey@cbc.ca or tweet him @DanMcGarvey

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